Recently, while decorating the Christmas tree and listening to an Elvis Christmas CD, the gospel song Peace in the Valley was up next on the shuffle repeat mode. While listening I began to sing along, to which my husband commented, “There is no peace.”
If that is so, then what did the heavenly host mean when, to the shepherds, they proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” on the night Jesus was born (Luke 2:14)? Did that mean everyone, from that point on, would all live in peace with one another? If so, the Angels got it all wrong that holy night. Look around you or within you! There is clearly not much, if any, peace to be found.
The definitions for peace are 1: a state of tranquility or quiet a: freedom from civil disturbance b: a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom. 2: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions 3: harmony in personal relations 4a: a state or period of mutual concord between governments b: a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity (Merriam-Webster Dictionary App)
Today, just the opposite is true in the world, our homes, our lives, hearts and minds. We are all fighting something or someone. Countries are fighting. Governments are fighting. Political parties are fighting. Races, genders and families are fighting. We are angry, offended and offensive. We are worried, stressed and exhausted. The list goes on and on.
So are we doomed to a life of no peace? Was my observant husband correct? Is there no peace? Is there no hope?
Don’t despair! There is one opportunity for true peace. The heralding angels had it right after all. When God gave us the gift of His Son Jesus, on that faithful holy night, He also gave us the gift of peace (Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.) And just as with any gift, if you don’t accept it you won’t experience the benefits that amazing gift has to offer.
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
I love the incident that took place in Matthew 8:23-26. In my opinion it is a perfect example of peace. Jesus and His disciples got into a boat. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and spoke to Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
Why were the disciples afraid? Why were they worried about the fierce storm/circumstances? They obviously didn’t have a full understanding of who Jesus really is. To truly know a person you have to spend time with them. There has to be conversation. There has to be a relationship. Trust has to be built. In order for trust to be built you have to consistently experience a person. The disciples didn’t fully understand that the One through whom all things were created had authority over all creation? Colossians 1:15-16 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
The boat represents our life, our heart and our mind. If Jesus is in our boat we can rest assured that He is in control of troubling circumstances that are sweeping over us. When peace is in our life, heart and mind we can remain calm in the midst of the craziness going on around us. When Jesus is on the scene we don’t have to be afraid, worried or troubled. If Jesus isn’t worried then we shouldn’t be worried. If Jesus is resting during the storm then we should be resting during the storm. Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Are you experiencing disquieting or oppressive thoughts and emotions concerning the turbulent storms all around you or within you? Is Jesus in your boat? No Jesus equals no peace! Will you spend time with Him in prayer and studying His word to get to know Him better so you can trust Him more? Will you accept the gift of peace that is being offered to you today? It’s the same gift that was offered by God that first Christmas so long ago; the gift of His Son Jesus and the peace that only He can bring. If you don’t accept the gift, you will never experience the benefits that amazing gift has to offer. The choice is yours!
Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.